I am a big fan of the Wages of Wins, Arturo Galletti in particular. I have often visited Arturo’s old site at http://arturogalletti.wordpress.com to read articles he wrote before moving to the Wages of Wins full-time. One of those that he wrote, in September of 2010, was called “Build Me a Winner Rev. 2.” In it, he mentions the Bullet Scenario which he describes as:
If you inherit a [bad team], do whatever possible to clear all the [junk] from your roster and cap prior to initiating a rebuild. While locked into the bad players from a previous administration hire the worst possible players to short term contracts and pair them with rookies to guarantee the most ping pong balls (referring to the NBA Draft Lottery). We’ll call this one the Bullet Scenario.
Brackets are used to replace language that could be seen as offensive. When I was looking at Wikipedia’s “List of 2012-13 NBA Season Transactions” page, my mind zeroed in on Dallas’s signing of O.J. Mayo, which was apparently finalized yesterday. Immediately, a thought entered my brain-is Mark Cuban implementing the bullet scenario?
Think about. In the past year, he lost out on both Dwight Howard and Deron Williams, the (should-have-been) marquee players in this year’s free agent class, after getting rid of Tyson Chandler for next-to-nothing to get them, Lamar Odom absolutely imploded, Dirk, who their team is believed to be built around, had a below-average season-again (check out www.thenbageek.com), and now Shawn Marion is the only remaining player with above-average Wins Produced who is still on the team, although the newly-acquired Elton Brand and Darren Collison are as well.
Checking out the NBA Trade Machine at http://espn.go.com, I see not a single Maverick with a contract lasting longer than two years. They had three draft picks, the steal of the draft (Jae Crowder) and a couple of mediocre selections (Jared Cunningham and 27-year old Bernard James). They traded Ian Mahinmi to Indiana, they amnestied Brendan Haywood. Both of those players are centers who have/had four years left on their contract. (Note that the Mahinmi deal was a sign-and-trade.) They signed O.J. Mayo and Chris Kaman in free agency, both of whom are highly overrated. This would not be so much of an issue if Kaman produced positive value and if Mayo wasn’t an inefficient volume scorer who doubles as a turnover fiend. Although they did make an effort to reacquire borderline star Jason Kidd, their push to bring back Jason Terry (who played exactly 2,000 minutes at a WP48 rate of .099) was not exactly hard.
The way I see it, Dallas is trying to get younger and/or overpay for players on short-term contracts. In exchange for Mahinmi, they received Darren Collison, a 25-year old above-average point guard, and Dahntay Jones, a recently dependable, now 31-year old role player at the 2. Both players have expiring contracts in the $2-3 million range. Kaman and Brand, who are thirty and thirty-three, respectively, have only one year left on their contracts. (It should be noted that Elton Brand was still really good last year and the year before.) As I was writing this article, I heard a rumor over on ESPN that Dallas may trade Dirk. Good for them-Dirk is overrated, largely because of poor rebounding and defensive statistics. It seems to help confirm my theory, too.
In the near future, I will be grading the amnesties that were made official this summer. Thank you for reading, and please comment.